Fears of total war erupt as Putin orders a ‘symmetrical’ response to US missile testing

The Russian president said Moscow was “disappointed” by the US’s recent ground-based, medium-ranged missile testing. Putin has now asked the defence ministry and the ministry of foreign affairs to come up with an appropriate response. Putin said Washington used an MK-41 launcher during missile testing on August 18 which confirms Russia’s concerns about US violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Putin said: “We have repeatedly pointed out that the deployment of such launchers by the US at its missile defence base in Romania, and their expected deployment in Poland in the future are a direct and flagrant violation of the treaty on medium and short-range missiles.

“The US side stubbornly denied this, claiming that land-based MK-41s were supposedly unable to launch sea-based Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“Now, the fact of their violation is out in the open and impossible to dispute – they themselves have spoken about it.”

Moscow has said it considers the activities to be in violation of the INF.

However, the US withdrew from the INF earlier this month.

Originally, the INF treaty was signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1987 to reduce NATO and Russia’s ability to launch rapid attacks against each other.

Putin also said Russia cannot be certain about what kind of systems the US could deploy in Romania and Poland.

Flight times between all these sites and major Russian cities are just a matter of minutes.

The US missile test took place just 16 days after the US completed its withdrawal from the INF.

Putin added: “It’s obvious that this test was not an improvisation, but the next link in a chain of events which were planned out and carried out earlier.”

Putin also said he never wanted to be dress into a “costly economically destructive arms race.”

Donald Trump’s administration has said it has no imminent plans to deploy new land-based missiles in Europe.

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